This 35mm screening is part of the 'Check The Gate' season at the Prince Charles, dedicated to presenting films on film that will run at the cinema from 9th July to August 20th. Tonight's double-bill (Daydreaming, the collaboration between Paul Thomas Anderson and Radiohead, is also being shown) was selected by Richard Ayoade.
Time Out review:
Anderson's meandering multi-story megasoap with a message is over-ambitious, self-conscious, self-indulgent, self-important and clumsy into the bargain. But it's also one of the most enthralling and exhilarating American movies in ages. Much in the style of Nashville and Short Cuts (though lacking Altman's light touch), this intimate epic charts the various fortunes, over a day or so, of various individuals living in the San Fernando Valley - including the dying Earl (Jason Robards), his young wife Linda (Julianne Moore), and his nurse Phil (Philip Seymour Hoffman); Frank Mackey (Tom Cruise), prophet of machismo; and numerous people associated, past or present, with a TV quiz show - whose paths cross by design, destiny, chance or coincidence. Insofar as the film is about 'story', little happens save that Anderson initially conceals information, and then slowly scatters snippets so that we can piece the jigsaw together. For all the humour, it's a dark portrait of loss, lovelessness and fear of failure in contemporary America, and not a film that trades in understatement. As the lost souls make their way towards - what? - redemption? - a deus ex machina plot development occurs, as contrived, ludicrous, bold and grandly imaginative as any Biblical flood or plague.
Here (and above) is the trailer.